Not so long ago, Rove McManus was the biggest thing on TV. The three-time Logie winner seemed to disappear from our screens overnight in 2009.
Comedian Patrick Marlborough ponders this question for his frenetic show Killing Rove.
While he muses about Rove’s disappearance, the disturbing, giant, deepfake head of Rove’s sidekick, fellow comedian Peter Hellier, floats disconcertingly onscreen. Like a wired warm-up guy on a TV game show, Marlborough berates the audience to applaud the show’s sponsors, Boko Haram.
Marlborough then trolls through Australian popular television history to re-discover some of its most disturbing moments: a nostalgic montage of the racist, homophobic, sexist and just plain obnoxious.
Who can forget the many incidences of black face?
n Rolf Harris playing the didgeridoo.
n Corey Worthington?
n The infamous Big Brother turkey slap?
n John Howard’s ‘children overboard”?
n And who can forget Rove’s most disturbing catchphrase: ‘Who would you turn gay for?’
Marlborough is a whirlwind in human form.
Electrified, he explodes onto the stage but in a way that resembles a cartoon character sticking a finger in a socket. A hyper ball of energy.
Frenzied, frantic and feverish, watching Marlborough perform is like watching someone on the verge of a breakdown.
An exceptionally funny person on the verge of a breakdown that is.
This is decidedly dark comedy, and Marlborough tackles taboo topics like a high-wire artist.
Even while we’re laughing, we catch our breath, thinking that this joke might be a step too far. But he’s no novice.
Marlborough knows precisely what he’s doing, which is why this show is so exhilarating.
- Review by Kathryn Keeble